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The European Parliament on Wednesday approved a controversial EU copyright law that hands more power to news and record companies against Internet giants like Google and Facebook.

Backing the copyright draft were traditional media. European lawmakers were sharply divided on the copyright issue, with both sides engaging in some of the most intense lobbying the EU has ever seen.

Despite uncertainty ahead of the vote, MEPs meeting in Strasbourg ended up passing the draft law with 438 votes in favour, 226 against, and 39 abstentions.

The text MEPs settled on compromised on ways news organisations will charge companies for links to content, with platforms free to use “a few words” of text, according to a key amendment. It also spared small companies from so-called upload filters that will make platforms — such as YouTube or Facebook — liable for copyright breaches and force them to automatically delete content by violators.

Two contentious parts

The bitter lobbying battle, which will continue behind the scenes, was over two parts of the planned law.

The first and most contentious was provision Article 13, which would make platforms like Google-owned YouTube legally liable if their users share copyrighted material, to prevent content producers being ripped off.

The second key disputed provision was Article 11. This would create a so-called “neighbouring right”, meaning that newspapers, magazines, and news agencies would receive a fee when web services provided a link to their stories.

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